Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives

Audio Guide: The Next Page - Transcripts

Welcome to the UN Library and Archives Geneva's Audio Research Guide! Here you'll find episodes from our own podcast, The Next Page, as well as podcasts and audio from or on the UN system and multilateralism.

Naji Osman on youth, the UN, and building an inclusive multilateralism

by Yunshi Liang on 2022-05-13T10:02:18+02:00 in Member States, Europe, International relations, Sustainable Development, Politics and International Relations, Social Affairs, United Nations | Comments

Naji Osman

Any voice matters and all voices do especially matter as we are underrepresented in so many occasions and they can make a change.

Natalie Alexander

Hello everyone, welcome, I’m Natalie Alexander, and this is The Next Page, our podcast at the UN Library & Archives Geneva, designed to advance the conversation on multilateralism.

According to statistics from the United Nations, our world is home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24, the largest generation of young people in recorded history. What is the role of youth in today’s multilateralism, as we look to the challenges we face in our present and our future?

In this episode, we are joined by Naji Osman, who in 2021 was designated as one of the three Swiss Youth Delegates to the United Nations. Naji is a student and research assistant in the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich, and is actively engaged in global political affairs, economic development and human rights.

Today he speaks with our Director Francesco Pisano, about his views on inclusive engagement, in particular, youth participation in multilateralism and how we can build intergenerational synergy to really make an impact as a global community.

 Francesco Pisano

Hello, everyone and welcome to The Next Page, the podcast of UN Library and Archives to advance the conversation on multilateralism. Today is a special day. I have a wonderful guest here with me in the studio. This is Naji Osman, who's one of the youth delegates of Switzerland. He came to visit us and I invited him for this episode. We'll hear about him, we'll hear about the youth delegates program at the United Nations, how it gets done, how to become a youth delegate and his experience with multilateralism as a young person. Naji, welcome to the podcast, and why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself before we go into our episode, which is all about being a youth delegate at the UN and what it means.

 Naji Osman

First, thank you so much, Francesco for inviting me. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. As I just mentioned, I'm one of three youth delegates to the United Nations for Switzerland since summer 2021. And I was serving this mandate until 2023. A bit about myself, I was born and raised in Bern here in Switzerland. I am currently studying economics and politics next to my youth delegate engagement at the University of Zurich. I have been interested in international affairs, economic development, human rights for a long time. I think an important point is also that my parents are of Ethiopian origin, and they would take me back to their home country when I was a little child and I would see huge contrasts regarding the living conditions, culture, economic and social development. This sort of served for me as the guiding compass. Also, before being a youth delegate, I was active at Amnesty Youth Switzerland, where for example, during the year I spent in Geneva at the university, I did different panel discussions on migration and human rights. Geneva was really amazing, because you have all these professionals and interesting people that can talk about their experience, and I also helped conceptualize and the national campaign of Amnesty International Switzerland against sexual and gender-based violence, which are also quite instructive experience.

 Francesco Pisano

Okay, and since you are youth delegate, how old are you?

 Naji Osman

I am 23.

 Francesco Pisano

Okay, that's young, that's young. Let's dive into the youth delegates program. I don't know how much is known about this program beyond the circle of the UN. So I guess our audience is also interested in knowing more about the program before we know about your experience. So what is the youth delegates program? And what is the purpose of this program?

 Naji Osman

So the youth delegates program was introduced by the UN in 1981. So last year, we celebrated 40 years of its existence. Since then the UN is recommending its member states to include young youth delegates in their national delegations as full members of the delegation. And the fundamental purpose is to have a direct representation of young people at high level decision making. By "young people" I mean individuals under 25 mostly. This depends on the on the member state. It's really important to have their representation because young people represent more than 40% of the world's population, but when you look at the UN, but also other political institutions, young people are massively underrepresented. The youth delegates program is currently the focal point at the UN, it's the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. And more concretely as a youth delegate, you get to participate in different meetings of the UN. Very common is for example, the Third Committee of the General Assembly which treats social and humanitarian cultural issues, but also a lot of commissions of the Economic and Social Council. We have the commission for social development where you see a lot of youth delegates participating,

 Francesco Pisano

Do you have the feeling Naji that it does really what it says? For example, you said the fundamental purpose is to associate young people to high level decision making. Do you have a sense that that is what has happened in your experience? Or do you feel like you were sort of directed to less strategic commissions and committees?

 Naji Osman

So I mean, the idea is really that you're part of the national delegation, and when youth  delegates interact with the UN, they are from the UN's perspective. They shouldn't be treated differently than then any other representative or diplomat of their country. So if you asked me whether youth delegates really have to have an impact on the UN's work, I would say it depends essentially on the member state and whether the mission really does the job, including the youth delegates in their official decision making. For example, youth delegates work on resolutions or should be included in resolutions. They hold statements in the name of their country, and in some cases, let's say the member state is very progressive, they even let their you delegates negotiate resolutions. So it really depends on the country.

 Francesco Pisano

So the program is 40 years old, which I didn't know. I thought it was younger, actually. So it makes me wonder, do you know how many member states run the youth delegate program?

 Naji Osman

The problem is there is no official information on that. UN does not really provide a complete list of all the countries that have youth delegates. Just some months ago, we were actually quite surprised, I mean some youth delegates from other countries, that there are actually youth delegates in South Korea. We immediately included them into our group chat. But as the best guess I can make two years ago, there were at the General Assembly 70 youth delegates in New York. So given that, and also given that most countries send more than one youth delegates to a meeting, I'm guessing that there are around 40 to 50 member states that have a youth delegate program.

 Francesco Pisano

Which is not bad, which is not bad at all. So let's go to, I guess, our young listeners, by now are wondering, okay, how do you get to be a youth delegate? So how does it work?

 Naji Osman

Youth delegates are actually recruited by the member states and not by the UN. That's really important to know. But the exact process really varies by countries. Member states really have the freedom to design the youth delegate program the way they wish. But the case for Switzerland and also many other countries is that the youth delegates program is jointly run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Youth Council. For Switzerland, that would be the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss National Youth Council. There is a very normal application process by which both entities review all the applications, and they decide jointly who they wish to have as a youth delegate for the next mandate. The conditions are that you're between 18 and 25. Switzerland has multiple national languages, so they expect you to speak two national languages and English. You do not need to be a university student, nor have any special knowledge about the UN, which is really important to make it as inclusive as possible. But what you must bring is, of course, a demonstrated interest in youth politics, and engagement and a passion for the cause.

 Francesco Pisano

Can you tell us more about how in Switzerland, in your experience, the youth delegates program relate to this other entities that you have mentioned, like the Youth Council, for example, in which in your country youth have a say or are invited to have a say?

 Naji Osman

I think that the inclusion of youth council or youth organization is really, really important, because it's a civil society organization. And most of us youth delegates claim or at least try to represent the youth of their country. Working closely together with a National Youth Council, for example, it really increases our legitimacy, because we're not elected politicians, or we're not, let's say diplomats in the proper sense. So that's really an important aspect for youth delegates. And I think a lot of countries that do that, it's a very, very useful and easy way to make it legitimate. For example, the Swiss National Youth Council represents more than half a million young people in Switzerland, and that's actually a substantial fraction of the Swiss youth. And they provide us with inputs, guidance, and really connect us to the people we're trying to represent.

 Francesco Pisano

So let's go in depth to your experience as a youth delegate. You said that you guys are not elected, but designated for two years. So you've gone through the first year. I'm interested in you sharing the experience with the audience about your work, but also your feelings. How did you experience this? So what has been your experience during the first year? And how did it go, for example, with the rest of the delegation with the older diplomats, if I may say so?

 Naji Osman

So like my last year has been mostly marched by the meeting of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, but also by COVID, of course. In October, I was in New York during this committee meetings. And it was really an interesting experience. I mean, the UN is an organization that, like any other organization of the global governance system that feels a bit unreachable and incredibly far for outsiders. Suddenly standing in the hall in New York with fellow youth delegates just felt really absurd. There are just some images you have of certain countries, of diplomats. And then you see them in real life. You're either confirm your stereotypes maybe, or you're totally surprised by the actual situation. Some things I did, for example, during my past year are organizing side events with youth delegates. A side event is an event that is held in the margins of the UN organ. For example, we had one on the implication of digitalization through the pandemic and its impact on youth mental health, for example, a topic that's really close to my heart, and I think that's really important to talk about that too, because we saw during the pandemic, a lot of young people really struggling with mental health, because a lot of education, but also social events have really moved into this digital environment. There are just some aspects that really you cannot transfer over a screen. That was really an interesting experience. Another thing where I was really exposed to diplomats and other people, which was really interesting was when working at the youth resolution of the Third Committee. I chose to work on the youth resolution, I got the choice by the Swiss mission to decide on which resolution I want to work on. I got the chance to comment on the resolution, to give my propositions, and to work closely with the diplomats at the Swiss mission. What was really great is that, at least for my case, that the diplomats really took me serious, and when working at the UN, at the negotiations, as I said before, as a youth delegate, you're no different in the negotiations, because you really just represent your country just like any other representative in these negotiations. Finally, something I would also like to highlight here is that COVID has had a drastic impact on our work. We were only six youth delegates present in New York. As I said before, we were 70 youth delegates in 2019. And this year, only six, and that was quite regrettable. And it just really shows that a lot of missions apparently do not view youth participation as something that is a must-have, but actually just as a nice-to-have, which you can have when there is no pandemic.

Francesco Pisano

Yeah, that leads me maybe to the next part of our conversation, which will be about the juncture, the connection between youth at the UN, and the way we practice today's multilateralism in the space that the UN holds. We practice a certain type of multilateralism, which is the type that you encountered when you went to New York and in the virus meeting that you had to have online because of COVID. So let me ask you this bluntly, what is your personal assessment of youth involvement in the UN today?

Naji Osman

I would say during the past couple of years, there were definitely some good developments. That deserves to be highlighted, absolutely, but there are also some persisting weaknesses when it comes to youth involvement currently. To first talk about the good developments, we have plenty of programs and initiatives. There is the UN youth delegate program, of course, there's the different programs at UNDP and UNESCO. We have the Secretary General's and she does a wonderful job. What is also quite encouraging to some extent that the common agenda report by the Secretary General really puts heavy emphasis on the role of youth for multilateralism and SDGs. There just seems to be a consensus or a changing paradigm that young people really need to be more included. Of course, it remains open whether this really happens in an effective and meaningful way. But there is at least the will to change something. What I meant also with persisting weaknesses, of course, the first thing, and I think that's a very obvious point is inclusiveness. We know that to most of these programs of the UN but also other multilateral organization, which try to engage youth, the access is really much easier for privileged group of young people, people who have the right to education, people who have the information. A lot of young people don't even know about the existence of these programs. I myself stumbled upon this youth delegate program. Young people that have the financial means is also very important. And from my perspective, two inequalities on two levels: you have within country inequalities, and you have globally. So when it comes to the youth delegate program, for example, as I said, there are 40 to 50 member states. But these member states mostly come from Western rich countries. You have a massive underrepresentation of youth delegates from the Global South, and this is really very regrettable, and that's not how you create inclusive youth engagement at the UN. Maybe a way forward is also, as much as I know, for example, Germany sponsors until recently, the youth delegates program of Afghanistan. That's a way to really make sure that you have representation from the Global South or developing countries. Another issue I would also like to highlight is sustainability, and that's currently a big issue because of COVID. So we are seeing that all of these programs are really built in a way that is really fragile. You had COVID and a lot of these initiatives and youth engaging programs, there was so much know-how lost and a lot of youth events were just canceled without adequate alternatives, while most of the UN's works switch to a digital environment. What was also quite striking is when I was in New York, I had a lot of youth delegates who wrote to me and asked me "what does your country let you do as a youth delegate? And how do you contribute to the work of the mission?" I was really surprised that they just did not have that Information and it just shows that there was so much know-how lost in this whole pandemic situation. If you really ask me how we can improve the current situation, I think we really need to take it more serious. It really requires this program to be better institutionalized in a way that becomes more sustainable. More information about them needs to be spread. And especially, we need to create opportunities that are really geared towards inclusiveness just as the one by Germany, for example, where you really try to make sure you have an adequate representation of everyone. That's the point.

 Francesco Pisano

You were 73 at the peak two years ago. So what I hear from you is that it's working somehow. At some levels, it's working, the interaction is there, it's happening. But I also hear that it could be so much better, like many other things, of course, in our world, in our reality. But do you think that the youth delegates as a program as an impact on today's UN, the way the UN shows up as a global organization is starting to change a little bit because of this program? Because when you've got something going on for 40 years either it works or doesn't. It seems to me that you're here, you're young delegates, you can express clearly what the impact and your activities have been in your delegation. When you look at it at the organizational level, the question is: is it helping the UN to be better engaged with the youth?

 Naji Osman

That's a great question actually. That's a question we as youth delegates ask ourselves actually quite a lot. Are we really having an impact on the UN? Are we just being tokenized, for example? You can imagine that the youth delegates program can easily be tokenized, right? So you just have a young person, you take nice pictures of them, you let them speak, and then you say "okay, that's good. We let the young people speak and then we go back to business as usual." I think when we talk about the impact of delegates, we have to separate between our impact within our national delegations, as I just mentioned, and as I also already explained, really depends on your mission, on the diplomats there, and really on the personnel that is responsible for you. The second part is, what is the potential impact youth delegates can have on the UN as an organization. This essentially depends on the opportunities given outside the national delegations for youth delegates, for example, the side events you can hold at these meetings, where you can invite UN officials, diplomats from other countries. It's a great question whether youth delegates have had an impact on the culture of the UN and how youth involvement is done. Unfortunately, youth delegates only have soft power. They can influence, they can give information, but they cannot make people and make certain decisions. That's remained a bit the limit of delegates. They are really limited to the national delegations. When they try to really impact something that is more sustainable and something that is more maybe on the organizational level, it depends really in the end on the personnel whether the UN stuff that you work with, for example, is really dedicated to youth inclusion. And I really, I really hope that some of these side events we have done so have influenced and some people at least.

 Francesco Pisano

The program is 40 years old, and it's still alive, so this is a good thing. Now for 40 years, you would assume that there is some sort of impact on the culture of the organization, certainly the Secretary General, but also the previous one, were very open to the interaction with youth. So there is this feeling that youth is the people that ultimately are going to be responsible for the world hence for in the future. And that future for the first time in generations is going to look quite a lot different than what the past has been for decades. Especially multilateralism, we see that there are disrupted trends, not to mention climate change - that's obvious for everyone - but also the global migration crisis. And to go back to your experience inside the UN as a person of 23 years going into this General Assembly committees, etc. Just a little bit for fun, maybe, but two episodes, one that really motivated you, that made you feel like "wow, I'm young but I'm the big bad guy right now", and another one that maybe really frustrated you, like that you had to go home and think about "do I really want to continue to do this thing?"

 Naji Osman

I actually had plenty of encouraging experiences, and also some discouraging as you just mentioned. I think the most encouraging experience was definitely the adoption of this year's resolution. That was an amazing experience because we went through the negotiations together with fellow youth delegates. We cooperated with regards to our propositions. We offered for the same cause because as young people, we share also a similar experience across borders. It was truly empowering to see that text at the end being adopted by the General Assembly, which truly just pierced our signature. And it really went to show me that youth inclusion, when you really give them the tools can be as simple as that. You just really need to not only listen to them, but really work with them. That was really encouraging. If you ask me regarding a discouraging experience, maybe not something particular experience, but just realizing when I found out that we were only 60 youth delegates in New York, and that a lot of missions apparently were not seeing youth inclusion, even though it's possible to travel to New York, for example. Something fundamental that was a bit saddening to see.

 Francesco Pisano

Yeah, I guess. So it's a question of priorities. It made you feel that it was not a priority for many member states?

Naji Osman

Definitely. It felt like youth delegates or youth inclusion was not viewed as something that is a must-have.

Francesco Pisano

Instead of a nice-to-have. I think it's a must-have. But I'm sure the many, many more member states over time will understand it. It's a must-have also because of the contribution that you guys are offering right now. You mentioned these side events, and these sort of network and chat groups that you have among youth delegates. So I'm interested to know, what are the key points that you guys are discussing in this group of youth delegates? So I'm picturing, when you were 73 at the peak of this experience, these 73 delegates from various horizons, various ethnicities, and various nationalities working embedded in missions and delegations that do have their national domestic marching orders and priorities. But at the same time, you have this group of youth that recognize one another as members of this global nation, which is the youth. And so what are the key points that come up in your chats and your discussions? What is worrying you? What are your hopes? What goes on in those chat groups?

Naji Osman

We actually had a lot of interesting discussions with fellow youth delegates in online meetings, but also in place in New York. And I would say there are mainly two points that crystallized, the first thing being that everyone sort of had that wish that multilateralism place, like the UN but also other organizations, really need to become more effective, efficient, and most importantly, less paralyzed by geopolitical calculations. When we really, really believe that effective multilateral system, a lot of you've delegates really highlighted that, that an effective multilateral system produces enthusiastic young people that are really ready to build on that multilateral system to continue evolving it, then that is, in the end, very essential for the current system of multilateralism. Because if you don't have young people that are really interested in building upon that, why should they maintain it once they're in a position of powers? They really need to see that an organization like the UN can produce swift and useful, smart solutions to current issues. The second point that also crystallizes in our discussions is that there needs to be a much stronger sense of ownership or responsibility by everyone for the multilateral system. I think that is only feasible if you make these places of multilateral exchange much more inclusive, as I already mentioned. Representation of women, people with a history of migration from the Global South LGBTIQ+ people, you need all of them so they feel implicated in the works of the UN. They will also feel a certain responsibility towards it. As youth delegates ourselves, we were included in there and we sort of wondered "okay, now we're part of that organization, we are contributing to it. How do we make other young people also feel that same sort of responsibility we are feeling as youth delegates?"

 Francesco Pisano

I think this is very interesting. It naturally leads me to the third and last part of our conversation. A conversation that I wanted to share with you in this part is more like how youth, you personally of course, but youth in general feels about the state of the world and where it's going. So we hear a lot the world is changing, the world is changing fast. The world has always been changing for that matter, but it is true that there is an acceleration; it's true that the conjunction between technology and some of the global crisis we're facing puts the world in a light that hasn't been before. This is quite clear, and a lot of humanities and academic studies go to demonstrate that yes, we are at the dawn of a new era, to put it simply. So youth and this new era, what is the "what" here? As a young person Son, how do you envision the future of global governance? You said something very wise that I hear a lot from the ambassadors who come to this podcast, and they say "we should not underrate and underestimate multilateralism, we should keep it alive, we should nurture it because it is one of the fundamental engines of global cooperation, not only among governments, but among humans, among people." We are social, we need to cooperate one way or another. So as a young person, how do you envision the future of these types of global governance?

 Naji Osman

So from a youth delegate's perspective, I think the most important thing with regards to the future of global governance is that we have shorter distances between the places where global governance is happening, and ordinary people. As I said, organizations like the UN seem incredibly far away and unreachable. A lot of people actually don't understand how global governance works, who are the actors? And if you don't know the actors, or if you don't understand them, you might also be wondering, why is it so slow? Why is it not working? And you start to lose interest in the in these organizations. That's also very detrimental to multilateralism and weakens the global governance system.

So what serves for me a bit as an inspiration or as a way forward is really the work we do as youth delegates. For example, we have to do in many of our mandates and many countries, we do class visits or workshops for the young people. We raise awareness for the UN, its ethos, how it works. And a lot of the feedback we get from young people is like, "wow, we really didn't know how that works. That's really interesting. Can you tell us more about that?" And they get really enthusiastic about that whole multilateral system thing. I think this direct link of very local youth inclusion and talking to them and getting their feedbacks, and then taking that to the level of very high multilateralism at the UN, at the General Assembly, or at any commission, that's, I think, maybe a way forward where you can sort of create a grassroot or bottom-up way of global governance, or multilateralism where people really feel I am the person that is really there. It's something that really feels really close to them, I think. That also really plays into the ownership and responsibility part I mentioned before, that could be a vision for the future.

 Francesco Pisano

Yeah. And actually, you know, as I listen to you it is striking for me. There are elements in Agenda 2013, that actually assumed that that is going to become a reality. This for example, inclusivity and participatory approach of Agenda 2030, where it says that to realize the vision of the goals, we need to create conditions for participation at all levels by everyone in the world and inclusiveness. So there is this participation and inclusion that resonates with me when you describe your vision of the future global governance that is both grassroots bottom-up and engaging, in a way less than political but engaging more or less. There is also something else that I think the current era opens the door for, and it's the notion of intergenerational synergy. This is something that I see in the work I do here in the UN where in my own division, for example, the youngest is 24 and the oldest is over 60. That is not a drag, actually; to the contrary, you have this amazing range of experiences, cultural backgrounds, not to mention the nationalities and cultural backgrounds, which is typically at the UN anyway, respective of age. But it sort of occurs to me that by investing more in youth participation in international affairs, and doing it intentionally, governments and countries could gain on the grounds of this intergenerational knowledge and experience. So I wanted to ask you, what is your view regarding the potential for this intergenerational dialogue? Not in general, but applied to the global problems that are in our face all the time, climate change, the migration crisis, and especially the one that I see in brighter colors, dramatic colors, which is the increase of inequalities. What are your thoughts about that?

 Naji Osman

I mean, that's a very important question. And young people really have a very distinct experience which is very unique, especially nowadays. As you said, the point of intergenerational dialogue is really to harness the potential of the unique perspectives and young people have on a range of topics. Actually, we see in plenty of local levels, young people have contributed to the solution of many problems. That is really thanks for a very really fresh perspective and unorthodox way of looking at things and that's something that gets really lost over the years. The more experience you have in the professional world, you lose that unique perspective. And if you really asked me, what's the potential of intergenerational dialogue, it really boils down to that specific view, young people have on plenty of issues. Young people's view on climate change is very unique as they will be the longest affected. Young people's view on inequality is also super, super important. As I studied economics, I study a lot about economic inequality and how it is looking today across countries. What we see is that young people will never be able, or at least in the current situation, not be able to attain the level of income, for example, parents have had, but also inequality and in a lot of other ways are topics that need to be handled, and young people have experienced a very specific way of inequality, be that on the political level or the economic level, on a social level. If you do not include them into those discussions, you will never attain intergenerational equity, which is essentially the goal of intergenerational dialogue. Another aspect that is also important is that you don't only need intergenerational dialogue, but you actually need to work with them. I mean, the problem that lies in all of these things that are based on conversations is that you stop just at listening, you really need to give them the tools, as was, for example, given to us, as youth delegates in certain instances, and let them change things.

 Francesco Pisano

So overall, what are you saying about the potential for intergenerational dialogue in the face of these global problems, not only the UN, in the world in general, but overall what I'm hearing for you is that your experiences as youth delegate in the work that UN does, in the mission and delegation of Switzerland etc., you felt that you were included and trusted, so you could say today that overall this is a good experience and it's good for the global problem-solving efforts that we're doing in the UN.

 Naji Osman

It's good as long as your mission really takes you serious. That's what I would also like to highlight if any diplomats are listening to this podcast. Really take your youth delegate serious. They provide a big resource, they have fresh perspectives on many things that you would be actually surprised the way youth delegates can really give you a unique perspective to things you might have not seen at all. And if you do not have youth delegates as in a certain mission or a certain country, maybe it could be the reason why youth delegates program is introduced in your country, so I really encourage you to use the potentials that youth delegates have.

 Francesco Pisano

This seems to me as the perfect point to wrap up our conversation. But before we do, I wanted to ask you if you have any final thoughts, anything that you want the audience really to grasp and to keep in their heads beyond what you just said, which seems to me a big drop of wisdom in the podcast.

Naji Osman

I have just one message and it's basically for young people. What I really want them to know is take any opportunity that's presented to you. Don't think you're too young or too inexperienced for anything. I felt very overwhelmed in the beginning and it's still every day a challenge when you're in a room with a lot of older people or when you're asked on a certain topic and you think “Oh my God, do I even know how to say that? Do I have the information about that? Can I really talk for a lot of young people?” It's overwhelming, but I think any voice matters and all voices do especially matter as we are underrepresented in so many occasions and they can make a change.

 Francesco Pisano

Well, Naji Osman, youth delegate for Switzerland. Thank you very much for taking the time to be with us on the podcast.

Naji Osman

Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.


 Add a Comment

0 Comments.

  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.